To my sisters

Some children are born into a life of autonomy. They stretch their bodies across years, touching nothing but vast expanses of air, learning to stand and walk without leaning on another. Those children never have to fight for their place in the world, to negotiate and strategize and manipulate the bounds of family and love and individuality. They have all the space and time to unfurl their limbs and minds without crashing into someone else's.

And then there's us. Sisters, friends, enemies, allies. An impermeable circle of genetics and memory, we were born into an order and a definition: first, middle, baby. Our earliest movements -- shifting tightly in the womb, rushing into a too-bright world, struggling fiercely against receiving blankets -- brought us directly against each other's flesh and words and hopes and dreams. We were born with the smell of each other's skin in our noses and the feel of each other's skin on our fingertips.

Our histories are a triple helix of sight and sound that cannot withstand separation. When one is angry, the others feel the painful reverberation in our bones. When one is happy, the others flutter with excitement and joy. Two bend conspiratorially together to whisper fresh secrets into eager ears and the third smiles with the fullness of knowledge, secure in the swift passage of details through age-old glances and well-practiced gestures. The two are nothing without the third, the one stands strong only when flanked by the two, and the three are a powerhouse of strength and steel and might.

Sisters. Friends. Enemies. Allies. We are everything and nothing. We survived long nights of fear and rage, together. We played hard and mean, determined to shirk off the bonds of each other, together. We battled with sharpened blades and words, struck blood and bone, pieced into place the shreds and tatters of a shared life, together. We were angry, wild, hurt, and pure, together. We were hungry and we were vulnerable and we were scared. But we were together, from those first startling, watery shifts inside our mother's womb to the white-knuckled and desperate blows of adolescence to the gentle, compassionate linked-arms of now -- together.

A sister is a rising sun, a full moon, the first sweet and juicy strawberry of summer. She is a raging wind, a tidal wave, the brutal thrust of newly sharp sword. She is the thread that connects you to your most bitter disappointments and your most shining achievements, both linked forever to her solid and eternal silhouette beside you. A sister is your greatest hope, your most valuable treasure, a richness that allows you to unfurl limbs and creativity across space knowing there's a soft, warm place waiting for you.

I am one of you forever, your spirits and personalities firmly imprinted on my soul. Three sisters, thirty years, one rough and beautiful life.

This is a love letter to my sisters for the Love It Up Challenge.


  • suzannah | the smitten word

    beautiful. i hope dylan gets a sister someday, too. mine are my heart.

  • Amber

    Kelly, my heart echoes your feelings. Sisters can be a source of contention and a source of constant support.

    I think I need to call my sisters and tell them how much I love them.

  • Cheryl

    A beautiful post, Kelly.

  • Kelly Miller

    Thanks ladies. My sisters and I have not always liked each other, but I'm so blessed to have them in my life.

  • Sarah

    Oh the sweet, the strong, the eternity in this. You know how I feel about sisterhood. When it's good, it's crazy good, and there's no way I could ever live without it now!

    I love this: Three sisters, 30 years, one rough and beautiful life.

    Bravo, my friend! BRA-VO!

  • TKW

    This is such a loving and moving tribute to your sisters. Your words brought back so many memories for me. Bittersweet.

  • Jami

    Beautiful! I wish I had a sister. ....

  • Jack Steiner

    That was very sweet.

  • BigLittleWolf

    This is truly lovely. I had no sisters, and often wonder what it would have been like.

  • The Ranting Mommy

    ooooohhhhh .. I love this post. I feel like an outsider looking in, as I have no sisters. Compelling reading Kelly. Good stuff

  • Jen

    Kelly, This is so beautifully written. Gorgeous words and all of it so true and familiar to me. I'm so grateful for my sister and so thrilled to be raising sisters, too. Thank you for putting it down in such glorious celebration.

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear what you have to say! (If you want an emailed response, be sure to enable email in your Blogger settings -- see a tutorial here.)

Now. Spill it!